I Learned to Accept Love in Return

By Cory M., Ontario
Reprinted with permission

I am an adult child of an alcoholic.
When I first came to Al-Anon, I knew it was for me. The kindness, encouragement, and compassion the members offered me fed my soul. 

I was home. I felt that I had finally found a group of people who understood me.  I appreciated being able to express my feelings without being interrupted or given solutions. Growing up, I isolated. I had friends but no deep connections. I knew my family loved me, yet I didn’t feel worthy of love. I received little emotional support from my family. Even though I was the middle child, I took on the role of the oldest child. We were left with a list of chores. I would hound my siblings to make sure they had their chores finished before Mom got home, so we didn’t upset her.  I was bossy, irritable, and discontent. I tried to control situations, always striving for perfection that didn’t exist.

I carried those tendencies into my relationship with my husband. I became emotionally crippled when I couldn’t force him to live up to my standards — I had become my mother.  I kept a wall between my husband and me because I did not feel worthy of his love. I felt like I was crazy, and he was suffering. Yet I could not bring myself to leave the relationship.

I am so grateful I did not leave my husband. Al-Anon has given me the tools for a journey on which I can love myself. I can now accept my husband’s love and kindness towards me. We are working on goals and standards of living for our family. I still have emotional setbacks, but I have tools now— a Sponsor, the Step, and slogans that get me through the day.

This article may be reproduced in its entirety without alteration using the following credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 1600 Corporate Landing Pkwy, Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617